No Hassel Canning: Tomato Sauce Recipe

My mom always canned, every year. She would make spaghetti sauce, salsa, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes and more. As a kid, I hated canning time. It was time consuming and I didn’t see the benefit when you could just buy the same stuff at the store for under $2/can. I remember her telling me how this tasted better and was better for you. It still didn’t matter to me. The process of blanching the tomatoes to remove the skin, blending them up, straining the seeds out and then reducing down into a sauce was time consuming. I vowed I would never have a garden or can when I grew up.

Those famous last words have come back to bite me now. I have a large garden and preserve a lot of my harvest. However, I still don’t enjoy the time consuming process of canning so this year I tried something new. I thought if I could skip the blanching, skinning and blending of the tomatoes, it would go a lot faster. So that’s what I did this year. I diced the tomatoes, cooked them down until they were soft, strained out the seeds and then reduced down. It went a lot faster and was very hands off!

The most important thing when making sauce is to reduce the tomatoes down. You want the sauce to be thicker and reduce the water out. The best tomatoes to use for sauce making are Romas or the king of all sauce tomatoes – San Marzano. This year I planted the San Marzano tomatoes and they are delicious! It makes for a very thick sauce, full of flavor. This past week we used some sauce in chili and it was perfect! I will certainly be using this method again. Fast, simple and effective. Just the way I like my cooking.


No Hassel Tomato Sauce for Canning


Tomatoes (20 lbs makes about 7 pints)

Bottled lemon juice

Canning jars and lids

Water bath canner



  1. Wash and dice your tomatoes. Place into a stockpot and start to simmer. As they simmer, mash down with a potato masher to break them up. You want all the tomatoes to be cooked and mashed up so their skins are broken down.
  2. Remove cooked tomatoes from heat. Run through a food mill or a fine sieve to remove seeds and skin. I prefer the sieve as that’s what my mom used and feel it works the best. Here is one similar to mine.
  3. Place strained sauce back into clean stock pot and bring to a boil. Once boiled, reduce down into a simmer. Let simmer until it reduces down. I let mine reduce down until about an inch of liquid has evaporated.
  4. Once reduced, place into canning jars. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each jar. Leave about ½ inch space at the top of the jar. Place on the lids and screw down the bans until tight.
  5. Place jars into water bath canner. Be sure at least 1 inch of water is covering the jars. Bring to a roaring boil and process for 35 minutes. Remove jars and place on a towel. Allow to rest for about 8 hours to seal the lids. You should hear a popping noise as each jar seals. You can also process in a pressure canner but unless I have to, I like to use a water bath as the pressure canner does scare me.
  6. Place in a cool, dry area and enjoy your harvest all winter long!